- Associated Press - Friday, July 11, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - In order for the Orlando Magic’s current rebuilding project to be successful, they will need a mix of fresh talent and veteran mentors.

That message has been preached loudly and consistently since the arrival of general manager Rob Hennigan and coach Jacque Vaughn.

It was underlined again on Friday with the introductions of free agent pickups Ben Gordon and Willie Green.

“I think it’s important to make sure that we add experience to the team, and we feel like the veterans that we’ve been able to add certainly I think will help everybody,” Hennigan said.

The 31-year-old Gordon, a former NBA sixth man of year in 2005 with Chicago, is coming off a two-year, mostly unhappy stretch in Charlotte in which he appeared in just 94 games.

Green, 32, has played with four teams in his 11 NBA seasons. He appeared in 127 games the past two years with the L.A. Clippers, before being waived in the offseason.

They both now say they are embracing new starts and the task of helping to develop youngsters like Tobias Harris, Victor Oladipo and new addition Elfrid Payton. Also joining the mix will be veteran shooter Channing Frye, who will soon sign a four-year, $32 million deal.

“Every time you go into a new opportunity, it’s a great opportunity,” said Gordon, an original third-overall pick in the 2004 draft. “I’m just looking to revitalize myself and come here and assist the young guys. I think they have a lot of great young talent. They just need some veteran guys to kind of help them along the way.

“So I’m looking forward to coming in and contribute.”

The Magic lost a lot of their scoring when they traded Arron Afflalo on draft night and waived Jameer Nelson late last month.

Gordon brings in a career average of 15.6 points per game. Since joining the NBA in 2004-05, he has also scored 20 or more points off the bench 98 times, second-most in the NBA during that span behind only Jamal Crawford (127).

“Obviously we don’t know what our roles are going to be yet, but I can still shoot the basketball,” Gordon said. “And that’s something that never gets old in the NBA

He said he was approached in late June about the possibility of joining the Magic, and leaned on his relationships with Magic assistant general managers Scott Perry and Matt Lloyd, who worked on the staffs at Gordon’s previous stops in Detroit and Chicago.

Green also has a relationship with Perry, extending all the way back to his high school days. Green said it helped him feel more comfortable about being claimed by a team that likely is still not yet a playoff contender.

“I think that’s fair that had I not been claimed off waivers that I would have probably signed with a team that was trying to make it to the playoffs. But it’s always good to be a part of something that is starting from the beginning and not jumping on the bandwagon with another team.

“It’s exciting to start something from the ground up. They’re building here and you want to be a part of a team that’s building, a team that’s working hard and has good people, and everybody is striving for the same goals.”


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